European options for zen-like spaces

Zolijns 1

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more

to add but when there is nothing left to take away”

– Antoine De Saint Exupery

Shopping at Salone Internazionale del Mobile (World’s largest Interior design Exhibition) held in Italy was an eye opener for Ashish Taneja six years ago. Its incredible variety of bathrooms, workspaces, furnishing, lighting and kitchens were of no help as many Indians felt cheated by the buying agents after spending so much on the products.

In 2010, venture capitalists, Ashish Taneja and Sheetal Behl, along with Saurabh Gupta — an architect and merchandiser — put together Zolijns with iconic European furniture brands. Zo means life in Greek and Lijns means lines in Dutch: this is a well-curated studio with a very zen-like philosophy and approach to design. They feel proud to bring in brands with a history and backed by celebrated designers like Karim Rashid, Matteo Thun, Terry Dwan, Marco Zanuso, Cini Boeri, Carlo Colombo, Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, Gio Ponti, Phillipe Starck, Achille Castiglioni, Pier Giacomo Castiglioni and Tobia Scarpa. This is a paradigm shift of qualified professionals from  white-collar jobs to an unorganized design industry in India, paving way for transparency and efficiency.

Zolijns is a B2B module with the help of architects, designers and builders and has offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Ludhiana, with Bangalore coming later, thus creating a pan-India presence. Their competitors in India being Cassina, Natuzzi, Go Concept and Magpie are surely giving them a run for their money; of which some are in the top five furniture list of the world. They customize nearly all the pieces to any room size with the help of an in-house design team which deals in after sales services like installation and maintenance; for residences primarily of business families, corporate offices and guest houses. I know nearly everything good comes with a cost but if you’re willing to spend they’re more than willing to deliver exactly what you want as bespoke is the hidden tagline of every successful business today. 

The premium companies they represent are in between the luxury and mass markets e.g. RIVA 1920 which has exclusive rights of 50,000-year-old wood from New Zealand’s Kauri region or Venetian mooring pillar wood and ARFLEX founded in 1947, which crafts sofas and armchairs of contemporary designs including classic designs first produced 50+ years ago, keeping in mind materials based on a lot of R & D e.g. different density foam used for armrest, seats and backrest cushions. RAPSEL is recommended for avant-garde bathrooms, MISURAEMME, SILOMA and RONALD SCHIMTT for living and bedroom furniture, LAGO for modular kitchens, FLOS fancy lighting, NOMON wall clocks, SHADES of INDIA bed and table linen and ODYSSEY marble or stone work and many more brands all making their distinctive space in the Zolijns kitty.

Emulating ideologies of Steve Jobs and Ratan Tata with Accenture and Vertex, these global trotters are thinking on the lines of creating a social enterprise with a conducive design environment for students in India in collaboration with established Indian and foreign institutes. 

It’s their concept-to-completion approach for furnishing requirements of homes and businesses which is worth noting, as it takes on your headache completely. Begin with viewing the virtual tour of their studio and then personally visiting it at C-19, Nizamudin (west), New Delhi-13, by taking an appointment on +91-11-41458383 with the studio manager.

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